10 Oct 2012

Work and Income appeals beneficiary tribunal win

7:26 pm on 10 October 2012

Work and Income has begun an appeal against an unemployed beneficiary who won a $17,000 payout and a major review of the agency's systems.

Gordon Holmes, who has represented himself, appeared in the Dunedin High Court on Wednesday for a pre-appeal legal conference.

In August this year, the Human Rights Review Tribunal awarded Mr Holmes compensation for failing to provide personal information from his file.

It also ordered the Government's welfare agency to review its systems to comply with what it described as both the letter and the aims of the Privacy Act.

Work and Income, represented by Crown Law, says it has appealed because it disagrees strongly with most of the Tribunal's orders, particularly that it review its processes.

Mr Holmes says the agency has treated him badly and seems willing to spend more money to deny him his rights. He says he expects to represent himself again because he cannot afford a lawyer.

The case is expected to be heard on 7 February.

Ceri Jenkins, coordinator of the recently formed Dunedin group, Welfare Reform Justice, says the appeal is indicative of Work and Income's arrogance and it has abused Mr Holmes's privacy.

"I want WINZ to back down ... stop wasting taxpayers' money on stuff that you've got no right to be doing. I mean, $17,000 - just give it to him."

Ms Jenkins says Mr Holmes's case is complex, but he is a battler who should get more respect.